Conventional leek growers reassured over leaf miner threat

Conventional growers have been reassured they have little to fear from an Allium leaf miner destroying leeks in the West Midlands.

So far the pest, Napomyza gymnostoma, has only damaged crops belonging to allotment holders and gardeners - and Agrovista agronomist Peter Parr believes that is exactly where it will stay.

Parr said: "It was talked about last year as well. It's still in gardens and allotments in Birmingham and it has still not developed.

"We should be aware of (the pest threat) because once you get something like this, it's not good. But (we shouldn't be) too worried."

He added that an existing pesticide programme, such as using dimethoate and Tracer, and drip control methods would fend off the leek miner - but it was more of a concern to organic growers.

He said the appearance of the pest should be an early warning sign of its prevalence.

Napomyza gymnostoma first appeared in allotments in the Wolverhampton area in 2003 and is increasing in prevalence throughout Europe.

Last week, the miner attracted the attention of Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, who called on experts to investigate the pest. He visited allotments in the area and saw the damage for himself.

Watson said he would write to DEFRA secretary of state Hilary Benn to ask for experts to investigate the matter.


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